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Last minute New Zealand trip help needed please

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Oct 30th, 2011, 06:52 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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Last minute New Zealand trip help needed please

Please advise on a last minute trip to New Zealand for 3 weeks in November. How much planning is necessary in advance? I don't want to limit myself by pre-booking hotels. Can I simply show up and figure out my itinerary as I go? I am not crazy about renting a car (I've driven on the left-side before, but I'm concerned the scenery will be too distracting and days of driving 4+ hours on my own may get tiring). Would buses be equally fine, or too much hassle with luggage vs. having a car and more flexibility? I avoid group tours, but I'm wondering if it may be better with a last minute trip? I hear hiking Milford Track needs to be pre-booked and that concerns me. As for 3 weeks, do you think it's best to just spend time on the north and south islands, or would a side-trip to Sydney and Cairns be doable? Coming all the way from the US, I would like to see both countries and not have to choose between the two. Lastly, for clothing, do I really need to bring all-season gear for November? I've hiked Patagonia on my own in November and lucked out with the weather, but I hear weather/scenery/etc. is similar to NZ. Thanks.
obersee1 is offline  
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Nov 4th, 2011, 07:57 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Depends if you want to hike the high country in which case you will need warm clothing but you can always buy it here anyway. You could try looking at intercity buses and nakedbus.com for itineraries, fares etc. The trains are limited. The airfares have dropped dramatically the last few years so check out Air New Zealand's website.
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Nov 5th, 2011, 04:34 PM
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The Milford Track does indeed require a booking. You can book online. I just checked a few random dates and was surprised that there are still openings, but at this late date you'd be on their schedule not yours.

https://booking.doc.govt.nz/Menu.aspx?sg=MIL

With three weeks, I absolutely would not include Australia. You can easily spend three weeks on one island of NZ alone.
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Nov 5th, 2011, 06:09 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
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There's a little known track that we hiked a few years ago that has fabulous scenery and great farm stays--the Kaikoura Coast Track. They still show availability for most of November:
http://www.kaikouratrack.co.nz/index.html

While I agree with Melnq8 that there is more than enough to see and do in New Zealand for a full 3 weeks, I also think it is possible to split your trip between Australia and New Zealand, provided you have a full 21 days on the ground. I would suggest in that case that allot at least 8 days for Australia (4 days Sydney and 4 days Cairns).
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